Other common names: Marine Toad; Giant Toad
Scientific name: Bufo marinus
In terms of pet suitability, the Cane Toad shares all the great qualities of the American Toad – an American Toad on steroids, that is! But folks with enough space for a ponderous giant can ask for no more responsive amphibian pet.
The huge natural range extends from southern Texas and southern Sonora, Mexico through Mexico to northern South America. The Cane Toad has also been widely introduced, with disastrous ecological consequences, to Florida, Hawaii, Taiwan, Japan, New Guinea, Australia, many Caribbean and South Pacific islands and other foreign locales.
The Marine Toad is very adaptable, being found in open forests, grasslands, marshes, and disturbed sites such as agricultural areas, suburbs and urban parks.
Appearance / health:
This largest of the world’s toads may reach 10 inches in length. It is tan to brown in color, sometimes with a yellow or reddish tint. Enormous parotid (poison) glands extend from behind the eyes to the sides of the body. The body is squat and rounded in profile.
These hardy amphibians may live to 30+ years of age with proper care. Nutritional concerns such as “Short-Tongue Syndrome” (related to a Vitamin A deficiency) and digestive tract blockages that result from substrate ingestion are the most commonly encountered health problems.
Behavior / temperament:
Cane Toads are among the most engaging of amphibian pets. They are, in general, more responsive than most frogs, seeming to watch everything and to deliberately consider their next move. Protected by size and powerful skin toxins, most seem possessed of real “confidence” in captivity.
While they will readily hop onto the hand for a meal, these friendly creatures should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet hands so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Amphibian skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.
Marine Toads do well in groups if provided enough space and cover. A 55 gallon tank makes a good home for 2 adults.
Sphagnum or carpet moss may be used as the substrate, as these are difficult to swallow. Washable terrarium liners also work well. Cork bark rolls, and plastic caves will be well-used as retreats.
These hardy creatures can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but fare best when kept at 72-80 F. They need only a simple water bowl, which should be changed daily. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water via liquid preparations available at pet stores.
A highly-varied diet is essential. Crickets alone, even if powdered with supplements, will not support long-term health. Earthworms (excellent as the base of the diet), roaches, sow bugs, crickets, locusts, butterworms, calciworms and other commercially-available insects will all be readily accepted. Minnows, shiners, crayfish and the occasional pink mouse will help supply enough calcium. Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin mineral supplement may be used 2-3x weekly.
Captive breeding is not common except in large outdoor enclosures. Males may be distinguished from females by their smaller size. A commercial rain chamber, or increased misting, may stimulate breeding behavior at almost any time of the year.
Gravid female toads deposit their eggs (many thousands of them!) on the water’s surface and among aquatic plants. At 76-82 F, the tadpoles hatch within 3-12 days. They may be reared on a diet of fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, and par-boiled kale.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
huge Cane Toad, herpetologist, interesting characters, extremely large toads
invasive species, minor toxin, poison glands, hiding, novice owner, perfect humidity
cane toad season, wear shoes, QLD, Cane Toad licking
Cute if you like that sort of thing
We have cane toads at work, and quite frankly they are pretty boring! We give them large natural setups and most of the time they burrow down deep, or hide underneath the cork bark, wedging themselves somewhere they feel safe and secure.
People at work often ask me about their hallucinogenic properties. I'm afraid I've never licked one, so I can't tell you if what they say about licking a cane toad is true, but we are warned that we should always wash our hands after handling them - they can excrete a toxin that if ingested, can act like a drug. It's also toxic to cats and dogs - so you definitely don't want to let this toad near your other pets.
I actually think they're quite cute as I like toads, and they're very easy to create a setup for and care for. You just won't see them do much, so I think most people would find them quite boring.
I tried to get a picture at work and this was my best shot - you see what I mean about hiding away?.
From Athravan Jun 15 2015 4:46AM
If You Must
Cane toads are interesting animals. In a world where amphibians are extremely threatened, cane toads are an invasive species. They're too toxic to eat, and THEY eat just about anything, from insects to small birds, mammals, and other amphibians. In a sufficiently warm climate, these animals thrive.
In your home, however...get ready for quite the setup. To begin with, these toads are HUGE, easily growing to the size of a small dinner plate, and yes their excrement is proportional in both size and odor. They do have temperature and humidity requirements, like all herpetofauna, and while they generally eat with gusto, they benefit from a wide variety of foods including crickets, larva, cockroaches, and even small rodents (which they may not take pre-killed).
Additionally, they are extremely toxic (do not lick these toads!) and may carry internal parasites.
If you are an experienced frog keeper, you can probably handle a cane toad. But...why would you want to?
(Photo by Bill Waller).
From ekccritters Nov 25 2015 12:29PM
Toadie - Out odd little pet
My ex-husband was a herpetologist and this meant we frequently had a whole household of sick or unwanted amphibians. The one that stands out the most to me is Toadie, the Australian Cane Toad.
Toadie came to us as quite a small toad (Although large by normal standards) and my ex loved him. I think to the novice owner it may well be quite difficult to set up the correct environment for such a toad but for Steve with his knowledge and access to quipment it was quite simple.
Toadie didn't do too much apart from eat and poo. I remember Steve spending lots of time feeding him mice and also cleaning out the tank.
We had Toadie for around 4/5 months when on Christmas Eve we woke up to a dead toad. We don't know why he died but he was gone.
I would recommend a Cane Toad to an older amphibian enthusiast, not suitable for kids or teens. Quite expensive to keep and very time consuming..
From paula001 Apr 23 2014 3:02AM